After a long day out hiking, cycling, or skitouring my body craves a tasty, savory meal! Often times, Cody and I are too hungry and tired after an outing to spend hours in the kitchen preparing food. We've come up with a great solution to enjoy delicious, home-cooked meals after an adventure without the effort: we prepare a gourmet meal the night before so we can heat it up and enjoy it when we get home.
These are two of our favorite go-to meals to have after an outing that reheat well and satisfy every time! The cooking process is fun too, just preferable (for us) pre-outing. Both recipes also have the option to be made vegan and are absolutely marvelous either way. Happy cooking!
Cody's Take on Palak Paneer
This is the indian dish recipe that we've been searching for for years! We are always trying to get that authentic indian flavor in our dishes, but no matter which "authentic recipe" we follow, they are still leagues behind that which we find in high-quality indian restaurants. Then Cody created this one day and it blew us away! The hing and ghee are game-changers (though the latter can be left out for a vegan dish) and really browning the onions into a paste will get you that deep, charred flavor of indian dishes from the restaurants.
Feel free to leave out the cream and ghee, and swap tofu for the paneer to keep it vegan. We've tried both - delicious either way! We love making a big batch of this the day before a big outing as it reheats fantstically and if you really wanted, you could make the rice fresh. Enjoy!
- 350 grams spinach (fresh or frozen)
- 2 fresh tomatoes
- 2-inch piece of ginger
- 1-inch piece of fresh turmeric
- 1-2 chili peppers (we use thai chilis)
- 1 tablespoon flour (we use whole wheat)
- 100 grams heavy cream (optional)
- 400 grams paneer (or tofu for a vegan dish)
- vegetable oil for cooking and for frying the paneer or tofu
- 1 large onion
- pinch of baking soda
- 1-2 tablespoons garam masala (homemade or from an indian grocer if possible)
- 1 teaspoon of hing (can be found at an indian grocer)
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander (freshly ground if possible)
- 2 teaspoons cumin seeds
- chili powder to taste
- chunk of butter or ghee (optional)
- salt to taste
- In a blender, puree the spinach adding water if it is too dry or frozen until smooth but still slightly chunky and set aside in a bowl. Rinse blender for next step.
- Chop or grind ginger, turmeric, and chili peppers into a paste. Add to blender along with tomatoes and blend until smooth.
- Mix the flour with the cream and set aside. Option to skip this step for a vegan dish.
- Cube paneer or tofu and fry in oil until lightly browned on each side. Then set aside.
- Chop onion and fry in oil on medium heat with a pinch of baking soda. The baking soda helps break down the onion and gives it a deep flavor. Cook without burning, stirring regularly, until the onion has turned into a paste and is deep brown. This can take a bit.
- Once the onion is brown and paste-like, add the garam masala, hing, coriander, cumin, chili powder and stir until fragrant and everybody has really gotten to know each other.
- Add the blended tomato mixture and simmer to reduce until really thick and a bit darkened.
- Add the spinach mixture and simmer until thick. Timing depends on how watery your spinach mixture is. For a runnier mix, cook uncovered. For a drier mix, cook covered for 10-15 minutes.
- Add cream mixture if using. For a richer flavor add a chunk of butter or ghee as well and cook for another few minutes. Option to skip both for a vegan dish.
- Add paneer or tofu and salt to taste. Let cook for another 5-10 minutes until paneer or tofu are warmed through.
- Serve with rice and enjoy!
Before we stopped eating meat, traditional bolognese was a weekly cooking adventure for us. Cody has always loved pasta and I've started eating it more after big efforts out. We spent a long time trying out various vegan bolognese recipes that satisfied our cravings and this is the winner, a combination of various explorations!
The cauliflower adds a nice texture, the walnuts give a beautiful nutty flavor, and the mushrooms and soy sauce contribute some delicious umami vibes. We used to add a tiny bit of anchovies to this (early on with the tomato paste) and it was delicious! Cooking the parmesan rind in the sauce brings this to the next level, but honestly, when is that not the case with cheese? However, you can easily leave out the cheese for a vegan variety. I do sometimes and it is still super satisfying. Enjoy!
- 1 medium yellow onion diced
- 3 medium garlic cloves diced
- 1 celery rib diced
- 2-3 medium carrots grated
- 200 grams mushrooms grated (we use button)
- 1 medium head of cauliflower grated
- 75 grams walnuts toasted and ground
- 3 tablespoons tomato puree
- 150 grams red wine (we use merlot or primitivo)
- 4 400g cans whole tomatoes
- parmesan rind (if not vegan)
- splash of soy sauce to taste
- salt and pepper to taste
- basil and parmesan cheese for garnish (if not vegan)
- 3-5 tablespoons olive oil
- Pasta of choice
- Preheat the olive oil in a large pot on medium-high heat. Add the diced onion, garlic, and celery to the preheated pot, stirring regularly for about 5 minutes or until veggies have softened but not browned.
- Add the grated cauliflower, carrots, and mushrooms to the pot and cook another 5-7 minutes, stirring occassionally.
- Add the tomato paste and stir to combine. Then add the wine and let reduce by half. Add the tomatoes, parmesan rind if using, salt and pepper to taste and let simmer at least 30 minutes but the longer the better! Option to leave out parmesan for a vegan dish.
- While letting the sauce simmer, cook your pasta.
- Shortly before serving add a splash of soy sauce. Garnish with freshly chopped basil and parmesan if using. Option to leave out parmesan for a vegan dish.
Feel free to reach out with any questions and enjoy!